notes: for an esoteric bushido

bushido /ˈbuʃiˌdɔ/  (trans. 'way of the warrior')  
unwritten code of the Japanese feudal warrior class, the samurai

"For the magician, every day is a battle to hold back the powers of evil"
 - Michael Bertiaux, VGW

The magician-as-warrior can be found throughout history & in diverse areas between which there is often no possibility of a historical influence. Examples can be sought in ancient warrior societies which were simultaneously initiatory magical groups from the Vedic cults of Indra/Mitra-Varuna, Mazdaism, to Nordic Odianism. The Templars could perhaps be listed here as well &, through their influence, various contemporary groups. The idea has also appeared in fiction, for instance in Grant Morrison's Invisibles. 

"The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look"
-Julius Caesar 75 BC

Thus begins Guy Ritchie's most underrated (& perhaps not coincidentally, his most profound) film, Revolver. While there are many reasons a student of esotericism would benefit from watching it (consider it a companion piece to this text), what we will focus on is the understanding of the 'enemy' that the film explores at length. Who is this despicable, evil enemy? Where can one find them & how is one to proceed once they do? The film's interpretation of this quote is that the most formidable opponent one will ever encounter is none other than oneself.

"Use your perceived enemy to destroy your real enemy"
 - from Revolver   

Evil is nothing other than that which obstructs our path (either individually or collectively) to being all that we can be. Carlos Castaneda, writing in The Fire from Within, outlines the idea of petty tyrants. From one perspective, they are people who seem to have an unjustified power over the magician, but from another, they are (for the most part unconsciously) trying to help one to go beyond oneself. This is simply a different angle on Jung's understanding of the shadow as a canvas upon which people project their own shortcomings, except there's nothing simple about the consequences of this energetic maneuver. From the dominant sociocultural perspective, the 'enemy' might be symbolized by the feminine (as well as racial & other kinds of others), death & the unconscious world of dream. As for the view that if certain others are eliminated, suppressed, silenced, then one will be truly free: in following this to its inexorable conclusion, one will secure a slavery to their own fears & delusions. By shutting out or by labeling the other as 'evil', we just end up where we are now - in a world full of utterly meaningless hatreds.

The magician in working with left-hand-path techniques actively seeks to forge links to the shadow world & thus to problematize the distinction between waking life and dreaming, even death. The long-term objective is to integrate both light & dark, to weave a tantrik synthesis therefrom. If initiation never ends, & initiation implies ordeal in the form 'if you want to attain to x, you must do y', then the occultist is certainly a kind of warrior. We each have a path we're on, & 'enemies' are but people who are advancing us along our path by pointing out flaws in our existential position. We will not be so naive as to say that all is well with the world & conflict can be invariably avoided when it is quite possible that the opposite is true. Still, we can minimize unwanted & unnecessary frictions, thus saving energy for essential causes. One must chose one's battles. In fact the more one does so, the more one comes to feel energetic lines connecting them to their objective, with the supposed 'enemy' standing right in the middle, ready to test the initiate. In this case one can do nothing other than to adopt the attitude of a warrior & to fearlessly go forward into the unknown.

dedicated to the people, the spirit(s), the land of Japan